Brine shrimps or artemia is a zooplankton used as fry food although Brine shrimps can be grown to about 20 mm (0.8 inch) in length and be a valuable food source for adult fishes. What makes brine shrimps such ideal fry food is their good nutritional value, that they can live 5 hours in fresh water before they die and the fact that the eggs can be stored for many years as long as they are kept away from water and oxygen. Once the tried eggs are returned into oxygenated saltwater they resume their development and hatch. This is an adaptation to living in dessert lakes that dries out.
The hatching time is depending on the temperature and takes 15 to 20 hours at 25°C (77°F). A Higher temperature shortens hatching time. The optimal hatching temperature is depending on the origin of the brine shrimps however temperatures between 25-30°C (77-86°F) are to be recommended.
– Recommended salinity is 30-35 ppt (1.022-1.026 density)
– PH 8.0 (pH 6.0-9.0 is acceptable)
Once they hatch they enter the Umbrella stage during which the larva doesn’t feed since they don’t have any developed mouth or anus. They survive on their yolk sack during this time.
After 12 hours they enter the second stage if development and start feeding by filtering micro algae from the water. The nauplii grows fast and can reach adulthood in 8 days. Brine shrimp can live for up to 3 month.
Since this article is focusing on growing your brine shrimp to adulthood I will not address the question of how to hatch brine shrimp.
There are several factors that contribute to the successful raising of brine shrimp to adult size. The two most important besides given the brine shrimp the above stated water perimeters are:
• Feeding: brine shrimp are not hard to feed. They accepts most foods the can filter out of the water as long as it’s not to big and doesn’t dissolve in water. There are brine shrimp food available in pet stores that contains micro algae for the nauplii to eat however there are quite a few cheaper alternative that you can by in your regular grocery store. Examples on this are Yeast, wheat flour, soybean powder, egg yolk. It’s hard to know how much to feed the nauplii however the transparency of the water can be of help. The first weeks you should be able to se about 15 cm in the water. When the nauplii grows the food concentration should be kept a little lower and a water transparency of 25 cm is recommended. Food levels should be kept constant so frequent feedings are required.
• Aquarium maintenance: Brine shrimp are usually kept in small tanks which means that water quality may deteriorate quickly. This means that water changes are of utmost importance. I recommend changing at least 20% two times a week. This is to prevent low oxygen levels which will be a result of poor water quality. It’s also important to clean the bottom of the tank since brine shrimp moult very often during their way to adult hood which leaves a lot of remains on the bottom of the tank which may deteriorate the water quality. This should be done by night using a flashlight to draw the brine shrimp to the surface. Brine shrimp are drawn to light and the light from the flashlight will attract the brine shrimp to the light source keeping them safe while you are cleaning the bottom of the tank.
Breeding brine shrimp
If well cared for and kept in a low salinity then your adult brine shrimp will (might) spawn in your aquarium. Every adult female is capable of producing 75 nauplii a day or rather 300 nauplii every 4 days. They will be able to spawn 10 times during a normal lifespan. However if well cared for they can as I stated earlier life for as long as 3 month and during that entire time spawn every 4 days.